Mehbooba Mufti sworn in as first woman CM of Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti was on Monday sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dressed in black, 56-year-old Mehbooba took the oath of office and secrecy in Urdu followed by BJP's Nirmal Singh, who will again be the Deputy Chief Minister in the new PDP-BJP government formed three months after the state was put under Governor's rule following the demise of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
Governor NN Vohra also administered the oath to 21 other Ministers. BJP's share increased this time in the Cabinet from six to eight berths and three Ministers of State (MoS) while PDP has nine Cabinet Ministers instead of 11 last time. Mehbooba's party has got three MoS berths, same as the last time. In the last government, BJP had a total of 11 ministers -- six in Cabinet, three MoS and two with independent charge.
Sajjad Gani Lone, son of late separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone, remained in the Cabinet in the BJP quota. PDP has dropped Altaf Bukhari and Javed Mustafa from the ministry.
Former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Jitendra Singh were among the host of VIPs present at the function held at Raj Bhavan. However, PDP MP Tariq Hamid Karra and Congress boycotted the ceremony.
BJP promoted Chering Dorje and Abdul Gani Kohli as Cabinet ministers. They were Ministers of State with independent charge in the Sayeed-led government. The saffron party has Prakash Kumar and Shyam Lal Chowdhury among the new faces in the cabinet. BJP leader Sukhnandan was dropped from the list of Ministers besides Minister of State Pawan Gupta, an independent MLA from Udhampur, who has been replaced by Ajay Nanda.
Law Minister in the Sayeed's ministry, Basharat Bukhari of PDP, took oath in Kashmiri again this year. Mehbooba assuming office as 13th Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir is a landmark event in the history of the state and the country. She is the first woman to head the state and the second Muslim woman to become the Chief Minister of any state in India.
Syeda Anwara Taimur was the first Muslim woman CM in Assam in 1980 and continued to hold the chair till June 30, 1981. The new government has also retained two woman ministers from the earlier coalition--- Priya Seth (BJP) and Asiya Nakash (PDP).
Apart from Nirmal Singh, who will lead the BJP flock in the coalition, Chandra Prakash, Bali Bhagat, Lal Singh, Dorje, Abdul Gani Kolhi, Ajay Handa, Sunil Kumar Sharma are also a part of the new government.
From the PDP's side, Ghulam Nabi Lone, Abdul Rehman Veeri Abdul Haq Khan, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari, Haseeb Drabu, Syed Naeem Akhtar Andrabi and Zahoor Ahmad Mir were sworn in as ministers.
The ceremony had ministers taking oath in different languages. While Mehbooba and Nirmal Singh stuck to Urdu and Hindi respectively, Bukhari took his oath in Kashmiri. BJP's Lal Singh took oath in Punjabi while Dorje chose English.
The two parties came together last year with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed heading the government for 10 months till his death on January 7.